Course Descriptions: Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices

Course Descriptions


Foundations of Depth Psychology for the Healing Professions DPT 730, 2 units

Depth psychology acquired its name in 1910, but its lineage reaches back into antiquity across many cultures, philosophies, and disciplines of wisdom and practice. This course will trace that lineage by conversing with the ancestors of the field: ancestors from Mesopotamia, North Africa, East Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. Students will learn the approaches they developed and see them move forward from healing and reflective arts in antiquity to include, in the present, various schools of analytical, relational, existential, humanistic, family, post-modern, and multicultural psychology. The course will also explore and appreciate what ecopsychology, mythology, and systems/complexity theory have contributed to depth psychology as we dream it onward in theory and in practice.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing I: Applied Theory and Practice DPT 761, 2 units

Students learn classical Jungian concepts such as ego, persona, shadow, Self, complex, archetype, collective unconscious, transcendent function, and individuation. The course explores dreams, active imagination, typology, and transference/countertransference considerations in the context of Jung’s approach to therapeutic practice. Contemporary perspectives and applications of Jungian thought are demonstrated through readings that elucidate Jung’s original work and modern integrations. The course pays particular attention to how various forms of pathology can be viewed on multiple levels from the personal and cultural-historical to the archetypal, mythic, and imaginal.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing II: Engaging Complexity and Diversity DPT 861, 2 units

Explore the phenomenon of synchronicity, a discovery that marked a new creative phase in Jung’s later work that has far-reaching theoretical and therapeutic implications. Synchronicity involves a redefinition of reality based on acausality, nonlocality, and the understanding that the inner world of psyche and the outer world of matter correspond to each other. Students examine the implications of these shifts for practice, including the centrality of the dream, visionary experiences, and the religious function of the psyche.

Sex and the Spirit: Integrating Jungian and Depth Approaches to Sexuality DPT 961, 2 units

Sexuality holds great mysteries of pleasure and suffering, yet this aspect of human health has been split off from traditional therapy and from its connection to spirituality. Students explore the intimate relationship between Psyche and Eros, Jung’s approach to sexuality, and the important influence of sensual and sexual life to the individuation process. Sexual pathologies also illuminate the delicate relationship between Eros and Thanatos, and how pain and suffering closely follow love and sex. This course will review the dynamics between moralism and instincts, spiritual and physical experiences of sexuality, as well as its diverse expressions through LGBTQ culture, sexual fluidity, sex addiction, and archetypal expressions of gender. Imaginal and Experiential Dimensions of Therapeutic Practice

Imaginal and Experiential Dimensions of Therapeutic Practice DPT 962, 2 units

This course explores the traditions that comprise the field of imaginal psychology and elaborates the unique features of imaginal approaches to therapeutic work that flow from depth psychological perspectives. Students develop an imaginal approach to issues such as transference, unconscious processes, symptoms, and dreams, and foster sensitivity to the symbolic depths and metaphorical richness emerging in therapeutic relationships. In this course, one’s integrative practice is regarded as a vocational commitment in which the awakened heart is the organ of vision essential to support healing. Pass/No Pass

Relational Psychology I: Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic Practices DPT 763, 2.5 units

Students are introduced to contemporary developments in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic practices, which place human relationships and mutuality at the center of the therapeutic and healing endeavor. Relational theory integrates a wide range of current therapeutic approaches, including object relations theory, self-psychology, intersubjectivity, interpersonal psychotherapy, and some aspects of modern Kleinian and Freudian thinking. The concepts and techniques of therapeutic work studied include the transference/countertransference field, the therapeutic alliance, projective identification, co-creation of the therapeutic interaction, attachment theory, the psychoanalytic frame, defense and resistance, insight and interpretation, and the mutual construction of meaning.

Relational Psychology II: Working with Narcissism, Borderline States, and Addictions DPT 863, 2 units

Students look at approaches to specific situations and pathological structures, and foster a deeper understanding of the dynamics and presentations of various psychological symptoms including narcissist and borderline conditions, as well as the relational components of addictions and recovery. This course continues the student’s explorations of relational theorists since Freud, including Kohut, Klein, Bion, and others. It focuses primarily on current trends in contemporary psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory with applied techniques for working with individual and group dynamics.

Archetypal Psychology: Re-Visioning Approaches to the Psyche DPT 762, 1.5 units

Focusing primarily on the work of James Hillman, this course describes the Jungian roots and core ideas of archetypal psychology, including the reality of the psyche, its plural nature, and the importance of the image. Students examine Hillman’s critique of clinical psychology and analytical practice and his call to enlarge the frame of practice to include myth, metaphor, and culture. Using practice material provided by students, lectures and discussions explore how archetypal psychology calls for a re-vision of many traditional therapeutic strategies and approaches.

Depth Approaches to Psychopathology DPT 760, 2 units

This course explores the original formulations of psychopathology and its diverse expressions. Students study theories of character formation and look at the major character disorders, neuroses, and states both from the point of view of their phenomenology and their unconscious underpinnings. Students explore the ways in which theorists of different schools have approached disorders and have offered distinctive therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on depth-oriented contributions.

Interpersonal Neurobiology, Affective Neuroscience, and Depth Psychology DPT 870, 2 Units

Contemporary research across a number of disciplines, ranging from systems theory and depth psychology to neuroscience, are leading to a paradigm shift in our understanding of the mind/brain. These new research findings illustrate the principles of transformation common to living systems, including various hypotheses concerning the evolutionary role of ancient subcortical, emotional, bodily, and imagistic processes. Students explore embodied models emphasizing intersubjectivity, nonlinearity, and self-organization, centering on the prototypic concept of regulation. Using our current neurobiological understandings of subjective states, consciousness, and the self, the course will describe contemporary issues such as the nature of the self and the radical interdependence of psyche, nature, and culture.


Eco-Spirituality and Eco-Therapy: Nature as Healer DPT 732, 2 units

C. G. Jung wrote, “If one touches the earth one cannot avoid the spirit.” Nature is the bedrock of spirit, and spirit the life force of the natural world. Based in the tradition of depth psychology, this course explores the union of nature and spirit and the healing that comes about through conscious engagement with these two profound aspects of our existence. In this course, we depart from the modernistic fantasy of separation of humankind from nature and explore a psyche that is rooted in nature, infused by spirit, and at the same time deeply personal. By bringing mind/spirit, body/nature into dialogue, this course fosters an integral approach to healing that addresses the large and important scope of the societal and environmental issues we face today.

Cultural Dimensions of Psychological Life: Engaging Collective Trauma, Cultural Healing, and Social Justice DPT 830, 2 units

An integrative approach to the healing of collective trauma and issues of social justice requires a collaborative study between important contemporary approaches and indigenous traditions of healing. Moreover, psyche and culture are interdependent and co-arising phenomena. To nourish this understanding, theorists who have focused on the cultural dimensions of the psyche will be studied. Students will look at emerging research on the impacts of various forms of trauma, from natural disasters to the effects of genocide and war. The causes of psychosocial and collective trauma, such as racism and the oppression of specific communities, will be thematized and examined. Students will explore the necessary work for justice (social, economic, and environmental) and study techniques designed to address the critical peace-building efforts needed to support healing on individual and group levels.

Special Topics I: Indigenous Healing Traditions and Emerging Cultural Phenomena DPT 974, 1.5 units

Indigenous philosophy and healing traditions have much to offer contemporary cultures in regard to living in connection and harmony with the natural world as well as honoring ancestral wisdom and the implications for intergenerational wellness. This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the contributions of indigenous traditions in regard to current understandings of healing and the practices that emerge from such. Students have an opportunity to discuss their own ancestral roots, learn insights from first nation peoples, appreciate distinctions between respectful and informed integration versus cultural appropriation, and discuss how indigenous healing traditions impact contemporary psychological frameworks and practices. (Note: The Special Topics courses are selected from a large number of possible areas of study and may change at the discretion of the program.)

Special Topics II: The Problem of Evil DPT 992, 2 Units

This course will describe approaches to evil from the point of view of psychoanalytic theory, Jungian psychology, social science, and our philosophical traditions. We will compare and contrast these approaches with traditional mythological and religious approaches to evil, such as the notion of a Devil, and we will study the psychological underpinnings of such beliefs. The course will look at the psychology of problems such as political extremism, xenophobia, and racial prejudice. We will examine the neurobiology of evil, and study theories about the origins of evil that have emerged within evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology. The course will examine the implications of Jung’s notion of the dark side of the intrapsychic God-image. We will look at terrorism and religious fundamentalism from a psychological point of view, and examine the psychology of some terrorist leaders. (Note: The Special Topics courses are selected from a large number of possible areas of study and may change at the discretion of the program.)

Body, Mind, and Soul in the Healing of Trauma: Somatic, Neurological, and Archetypal Approaches DPT 975, 2 units

Attachment theory, developed by Bowlby and Ainsworth, is now confirmed and extended by contemporary neurobiological research, and points toward the complex interconnections between the body and the mind. This course examines the renewed emphasis on somatosensory awareness in therapeutic practice, a reversal of the cultural legacy of Cartesian dualism that continues to affect many healing modalities. Kalsched’s archetypal perspective extends awareness of the healing process and dimensions of traumatic experience, including a careful exploration of the means necessary to support the individuation journey. Students learn core principles and skillful use of a whole-person approach to trauma, and develop a felt sense of the embodied psyche in their professional practice.

Psyche and the Sacred: Psychology and Spirituality in Dialogue DPT 920, 2 units

The psyche’s capacity and affinity for sacred experience, as expressed in religion, ritual, and encounters with the numinosum, continually remind us of the importance of a spiritual consideration in all psychological work. Jung once said that all psychological problems are essentially religious problems. If true, this idea becomes especially interesting to practitioners in the ways it calls for a revision of our notions of self, suffering, pathology, and of approaches to treatment. This course explores ways that many therapists and helping professionals might work with the religious function of the psyche.

Working with Illness and Death: East-West, Depth, and Indigenous Perspectives on Suffering DPT 894, 2 units

This course will integrate critical perspectives from Eastern and Indigenous traditions in the context of working with those who are facing the uncertainties of illness and death. The course will compare and contrast these approaches with depth and Western orientations. Students will explore aspects of their own capacity for ambiguity, compassion versus sympathy, transference and countertransference, somatic responses, emergent imagery, spirituality, interdisciplinary communication, and potential roles of healing modalities in serving the needs of others in the face of suffering.


The Inner Landscape of Dreams and Active Imagination DPT 780, 1.5 units

Throughout time and across cultures, dreams have opened the door to the psyche, offering contact with the transcendent and nourishment for the soul. This class considers Jungian and post-Jungian approaches to the dream and explores their careful integration into therapeutic work. The main focus of the class is on developing personal ability in relating to dreams. We invite a lived experience of dream consciousness to be present by sharing our own dreams and images throughout the class.

The Art of Scholarly Inquiry and Writing DPT 784, 2 units

This course invites students to contemplate how the fathomless psyche affects the process of research. Taking seriously the core philosophical assumption of depth psychology, the reality of the unconscious, introduces profound shifts in one’s ontology, epistemology, and methodology. In light of this, what can researchers claim to know and how do they know it? This course introduces students to some of the key ideas that affect research including psyche, archetype, image, and the imaginal. The course explains Jung’s technique of active imagination, and teaches close reading and textual analysis as part of a general introduction to the practice of hermeneutics. It also sharpens students’ ability to critically evaluate and write scholarly prose, identifying the key characteristics of a wellargued academic essay, article, or dissertation.

Healing Narratives: Writing Compelling Practice Studies and Client Stories DPT 785, 2 units

Writing about clients and conveying their compelling stories is critical to depth practitioners who understand the power of narrative for healing and advancing professional knowledge. This special seminar course will support students in exploring their own creativity and imagination, and will support them in honoring their work with clients through advanced writing skills specifically attuned to the work of healing professionals. Skills learned and practiced in this course include writing progress reports, contacting potential employers, blogging effectively, drafting and editing articles, papers, and books, and getting published.

Dissertation Development I: Imagination, Calling, and Rigor in Doctoral Scholarship DPT 832, 2 units

Working with image, dream, symptom, and synchronicity, this course helps students attune themselves to the vocational nature of depth psychological inquiry, and then refine their proposed research topic into a focused research question. Lecture and discussion introduce the dissertation handbook and explain the research process at Pacifica in terms of its key milestones: concept paper, proposal, final draft, and the oral defense. Students critically review Pacifica dissertations to understand the scholarly form and also to augment background knowledge of their topic area. Through a thorough, systematic critique of their own work, students expand their knowledge of scholarly writing and learn the central importance of re-visioning their ideas and language to explore the deep psyche.

Dissertation Development II: Qualitative Methodologies and Mixed Methods Research DPT 782, 2 units

This course compares and contrasts key qualitative methodologies, including their origin, history, epistemological assumptions, and theoretical basis as well as their practical and ethical implications. In addition, students learn how to blend qualitative and quantitative studies in a mixed-methods research study. Discussion focuses on contemporary critiques of traditional methods to address their limitations and biases. Students learn how questions of methodology are organically related to the research topic and affect the research design, procedures, and outcome of the work. The course is intended to guide students in choosing a possible methodology for their dissertation topic.

Dissertation Development III, IV, V DPT 942 A (1 unit), B (.75 unit), C (.75 unit) per quarter

These seminars span the second and third years of coursework, slowly and organically guiding students toward the completion of an approved dissertation concept paper. Each student, in consultation with the instructor, sets individual learning goals. The course answers questions concerning dissertation writing at Pacifica, including how to refine a research question, select and review relevant literature, choose an appropriate research methodology, articulate a thoughtful approach to research ethics, and form a dissertation committee. By the end of the winter quarter, most or all students will emerge with an approved concept paper. Prerequisites: DPT 942 A for DPT 942 B and DPT 942 B for DPT 942 C. Pass/No Pass

Enacting the Oral Tradition: Oral Comprehensive Presentation DPT 994, 2 units

A key aspect of doctoral studies is the gradual movement from the realm of student to the realm of professor. Whether or not a student ultimately becomes a teacher, each must still give back to the world in a depth-oriented way a synthesis of what he or she has learned. In this course students develop effective presentation skills to prepare them for speaking and teaching. In particular, this course helps to prepare students for the important capstone in the doctoral journey at Pacifica, the oral defense of the dissertation. The course is conducted like a professional conference, in which the presentations are timed and followed by a question and answer session. In addition, instructors will use their observations to discuss the principles of effective speaking and philosophies of teaching. Pass/No Pass

Practice Consultation Groups I, II, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX DPT 750, DPT 850, DPT 951 and DPT 952 (1.5 units each) DPT 751 and DPT 851 (1 unit each)

The goals of the practice consultation courses are to integrate theoretical learning with practical experience, and to demonstrate a variety of approaches to practice from a depth perspective. Students present a case for depth supervision at least once per quarter. In addition to practice consultation, each course will address a particular theme that typically mirrors specific material in other coursework including topics such as maintaining a mythic sensibility, working with image, dream, and story, issues of race and cultural diversity, socioeconomic forms of suffering including poverty, oppression, and alienation, the challenges of technology, mindfulness and contemplative/spiritual inquiry, depth approaches to assessment and pathology, human-non-human relations, transference, and ethical problems. During the two quarters of the third year of coursework, students present a control paper to examine their practice work with one client in depth. Pass/No Pass.

Practice Consultation Groups V: The Role of the Supervisor – Foundational Aspects DPT 852, 1 unit

This course introduces students to foundational aspects of role of the supervisor. A variety of healing modalities utilizing depth approaches will be addressed. In small groups, each led by an experienced supervisor, students will be exposed to particular themes in which to deepen their understanding of and capacity for applied work in a supervisory role. This introductory course will address basic foundational expectations of a supervisor as well as expand into themes and discussions around the impact of relational and unconscious processes in the supervisory relationship. The course offers a rich opportunity for students already experienced in supervisory roles to share experiences of strengths and growing edges with those who are in the beginning phases of learning supervisory work. Licensed clinicians in psychology will be in a different group than those from the nursing professions, for instance, so as to attend to the important ethical component unique to each profession. Included in the course may be topics such as establishing a supervisory frame, differentiating supervision from therapy, issues of power and privilege, enactment, transference and countertransference, incorporating dreams and imagery, boundaries of particular healing modalities and practitioners, addressing conflict, among others. Pass/No Pass.

Practice Consultation Groups VI : The Role of the Supervisor – Functional Aspects DPT 950, 1.5 units

This course expands upon the practice consultation group V course which addressed foundational aspects of the role of the supervisor and offers opportunities for role play and the use of self in emphasizing functional aspects of the lived experience of the supervisory relationship as well as how subtle aspects of the work being discussed enters into the field of awareness. Such aspects as enactment, resonant and synchronistic phenomena, engaging unconscious processes, and addressing dilemmas will be explored and each person will have an opportunity to present a supervisory experience within their particular practice modality and to explore experiences through the use of role play exercises. Small groups will be established based on the context of professional work and each group will be supervised be an instructor experienced in the relevant approach. Pass/No pass

Written Comprehensive Examination DPT 899, 1 Unit

Dissertation Writing DPT 999, 15 units

Under the supervision of a Dissertation Committee, the student submits a proposal, conducts original research, writes, and defends the doctoral dissertation. This course traditionally follows the completion of all other coursework and successful completion of the comprehensive exams. However, students who demonstrate readiness may choose to apply for this course while enrolled in regular coursework. This option requires approval from the Chair of the specialization. Additional fees will be assessed for this course. Pass/No Pass